Jasmine Martin joins city school board
by LARRY C. BOWERS, Banner Staff Writer
May 08, 2012 | 1455 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasmine Martin
Jasmine Martin
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The Cleveland Board of Education has a new member who was introduced at Monday night’s meeting. The board has also given a go-ahead to a proposed parental focus group to attempt to raise funds for an artificial surface for the Cleveland High School football field.

Cleveland High senior-to-be Jasmine Martin has been selected from seven finalists to participate in school board meetings during the coming year. She will be a nonvoting member, but will join in discussions.

The daughter of Billy and Tina Massingale said she hopes to be a “voice” on the school board. She said after Monday’s meeting that her teachers and parents feel Cleveland High students need some representation on the school board.

“This gives me a chance to represent my peers,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for me to express my opinion.”

The Cleveland High senior belongs to a number of school organizations, plays sports and participates in a number of other endeavors at school and in the community. She has two siblings, Sabra Martin and Ellie Massingale.

Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan said candidates for the newly approved school board post were “all solid students.” They were interviewed and judged by school staff members, and each wrote an essay. “She (Jasmine) presents herself well in a very respectful manner,” O’Bryan said.

Martin scored 98 of a possible 100 points in the interview process, earning the judges’ support.

n The school board received an unusual request Monday night from a parent. Dr. Mike Massey, a father with two sons in the city system, approached the board about the possibility of securing funds to place an artificial surface on the Blue Raiders’ football field.

Massey wants to form a focus group to raise funds in the private and public sectors to pay for the field covering. He emphasized it would benefit the school’s football program, and open up the facility for wider use.

Although football coaches were commended by the board for their maintenance and care of the field, it was discussed that a number of activities are limited because they would cause damage to the grass surface. This includes band competition.

“With an artificial surface, we could open the field to many opportunities,” Massey said. “It could be a community field.”

Massey said he wants to research options and logistics of such a project, and asked for the board’s approval and support.

Board members asked Massey if the proposed surface would be hard, and dangerous, to athletes. “You wouldn’t believe this surface,” he said in response. “This is different than the old turf used in the past. It is almost like grass.”

The Cleveland parent said the project would cost somewhere between $350,000 and $700,000 (the first time). Replacement turf, eight to 10 years in the future, would be less, he added. “I would hope we could find the best surface for what money we have,” Massey said in closing his appeal.

“I didn’t come asking for anything but support,” he told the board. He said there might be some grant money out there, which could help the project. “We’re optimistic that multiple funds might be available.”

Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff said he liked the proposal. “I think it’s the only way to go,” he said of bettering the facility without having to spend capital funds.

With the board’s approval, Massey said he would keep board members informed of his progress.